FACELIFT*

A facelift can help patients who are bothered by signs of aging in the face. Such signs include sagging of the middle of the face, fat that has fallen or is displaced, jowl formation, loose skin over the chin and jaw, and sagging skin of the neck. It is often done together with eyelid surgery to correct bulging lower eyelids or heavy, droopy upper eyelids.

A facelift won't change your fundamental appearance or stop the aging process. A facelift can only be performed surgically. Non-surgical treatments such as fillers or botox can't give the same results, but they may help to delay the time at which a facelift is needed.

A facelift is a very individualized procedure and should be done for oneself and not to please someone else. It is best done for healthy individuals who have a positive outlook and specific, clear goals that they want to achieve. These goals should be realistic for the improvement of one's appearance. Smokers will have substantially higher risks when undergoing a facelift.

A full evaluation by a qualified plastic surgeon is essential for determining if a facelift is right for you. During this evaluation you and your surgeon should discuss what you want to achieve and what the surgeon believes is a reasonable expectation for you. You should also discuss the type of incision, the anethetic, your overall medical condition, and the risks and complications of surgery. You should also discuss whether other procedures such as eyelid surgery, brow lift or neck lift should be considered. Most commonly, we do include a neck lift with most facelifts.

The operation traditionally begins with an incision in the hairline at the temples and continues around the ears and into the lower scalp. Often, fat is sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck, and the deeper layers of the face are also lifted. The uplifted skin is then trimmed away and the wounds are sutured. A small incision underneath the chin is frequently used to help with the neck lift. Usually these incisions are well healed and not very conspicuous.

The results of facelift appear after the swelling and bruising subside. The final result is meant to provide a more youthful and rested appearance and improve self confidence.

Risks of facelift surgery include unfavorable scars, bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, anesthetic risks, correctable hair loss at the incisions, numbness, facial nerve injury with weakness, facial asymmetry, skin loss, fat necrosis, fluid accumulation, skin contour irregularities, skin discoloration, sensitivity or swelling, unsatisfactory results, deep vein thrombosis, heart and lung complications, and the possible need for revision surgery.

Most patients have a lasting, improved appearance after surgery and are happy with the results.

Prepare for your interview with the plastic surgeon by having a list of questions ready to ask the physician. We believe that there are no silly questions and that the very question you are most reluctant to ask might be the most important. We will try to answer all of your questions in a clear, consise way.

*a portion of this information was paraphrased from a publication of the American Society for Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.